Volume 3, Chapter
19 March 1981
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
As Ecône celebrates
its first ten years of existence, the Sisters of the Society have
seen the seventh anniversary of their own foundation go by in discreet
silence. There is no other beginning for any project willed by Divine
Providence – and we certainly trust that our own is so willed.
What was Ecône in the month of September 1970? Eleven young
men and three young priests, who, under the leadership of Monseigneur
Lefebvre, decided to live for the Church and within the Church,
according to its norms. It was the same thing for the Sisters of
the Society. Just as the priest is of vital necessity to the Church,
so too in a different way is the consecration of virginity.
We are happy to profit
from the opportunity we have been given by this letter to recount
our history and to show how it has been guided by Divine Providence.
On October 2, 1973,
the first postulant arrived at Ecône all the way from Australia.
On the 6th of the same month she was joined by a girl from the United
States, and with the sister of Archbishop Lefebvre, Mother Marie
Gabrielle, these two young women full of good will made up the female
branch of the Society of St. Pius X. At the request of His Grace,
our two young postulants were received with joy by the Dominican
nuns of the Holy Ghost, because, before thinking about religious
formation, it was first necessary to be able to communicate: they
had to learn French!
The following year,
on the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady, four other young
women from America, Spain and France, came to Ecône and assisted
at the retreat preached there. On September 22, they were present
as our first arrival took the habit, and Miss Janine Ward of Australia
became Sister Mary Michael.
The day following this
memorable event, and without further delay, all who then comprised
the novitiate left for Albano, a property which, although destined
for seminarians, was to house the first steps of the Sisters.
Albano is just outside
Rome, and so it was by a pilgrimage to the tomb of the Prince of
the Apostles that life there began. From the beginning we wanted
to proclaim our attachment to Rome. We went to St. Peter, because
it was on the Rock of Peter that we wanted our work to be established.
It was in the shadows of the Church, Mother and Spouse, that we
wanted to begin our life together. At the tombs of St. Peter and
St. Pius X, and under the patronage of Our Lady of Compassion, we
implored God’s blessing.
The first profession
took place on 29 September 1976, at Albano. Our first three years
of existence were spent in that house and we had become attached
to it, but on September 10, 1977, we had to leave. The seminarians,
having become too numerous for Ecône, now came into possession
of their house. It was only right that they should. So it was that
St. Michel-en-Brenne, in its turn, became our house. This time the
move was definitive.
The current strength
of our Society is as follows: sixteen professed Sisters, seventeen
novices, and eight postulants. The receiving of the habit and the
making of the profession takes place every year on Low Sunday. Thus
on April 26 next, nine novices will make their profession, and the
eight postulants will receive the habit. In spite of the difficulties
of access, you are invited to attend, and we shall gladly welcome
What is our aim? What
is our place in the Church? It is the place of any baptized soul
who desires, until the day of death, to preserve intact his fidelity
to Our Blessed Lord, to Whom we consecrate our virginity. Like all
congregations we have two purposes, one spiritual and the other
particular to ourselves. As for the first, our spirit is entirely
directed towards and centered on devotion to the Holy Sacrifice
of the Mass. The chief motive for the total sacrifice of ourselves
to Christ is in the aspiration to offer ourselves with the Divine
Victim, in the likeness and after the example of Our Lady of Compassion.
That is why we consecrate ourselves to God by the vows of poverty
, chastity, and obedience. Each day we spend one hour of adoration
before the Blessed Sacrament.
As for the particular
aim, the Sisters are intended as helpers for the priests of the
Society, and it is in this apostolate that they must fulfill their
vocation. The priests are supported by the generosity and devotion
of the Sisters, and are thus able to give themselves more fully
to their own.
At the end of this short
history, we turn to you who read the “Letter to Friends and
Benefactors,” to ask for your prayers and to assure you of
ours. We also count on your generosity to help us to pursue and
to develop this project, already visibly blessed by God.
Mother Marie Gabrielle
Feast of St. Joseph
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109